I currently have a copy of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, which is an absolutely incredible book if you're interested in bread baking. As I was flipping through, bagels caught my eye.
I eat a bagel almost every day, and on some days more than one bagel. They are a staple in my diet and have been for a long time. My wife and daughter also like them and go so far as to make sandwiches out of them for lunch. We have Target, Panera Bread, and even an Einstein Bagels opened recently, but all of these places have way over-priced products. So, I'm pretty much stuck eating frozen Lender's bagels out of the grocery store. They're okay...I like them better than Sara Lee or Earth Grain Mills or whatever the hell it's called. But no more! Although it takes a little time, this recipe is incredibly easy and the bagels turned out amazing.
This dough mixture got to be too big for my Kitchen-aid mixer. After the ingredients were well incorporated (which required a little hand-kneading) I divided the dough in half and used the mixer to knead each dough half for about 5-8 minutes per half. After both halves were kneaded and combined the two halves back together by kneading them a little by hand.
Once the kneading is finished, cut 4 1/2 oz pieces of dough off and to make dough balls. Cover them with a towel and let them rest for about twenty minutes. After twenty minutes you can shape your dough balls into bagels by simply using your fingers to poke a whole in the center and use your fingers to shape and smooth into a bagel shape. Place the bagels on baking sheets covered with parchment and lightly greased with cooking spray (you should have 2 sheets of about 6-7 bagels each). Lightly spray the tops of the bagels with cooking spray and cover them with plastic wrap. Let the pans rest for about 20 minutes or so. By testing one of the bagels you'll know when they'll be ready for the refrigerator - take one bagel and drop it in a bowl of room temp water. If the bagel floats within 10 seconds, they're ready for the fridge. Refrigerate over night.
When your water is boiling, drop a T of baking soda in the water and give it a chance to dissolve and mix. When you're ready, drop a bagel in the water - drop as many as will fit, proceeding slowly so your water temp recovers between bagel drops. Boil each bagel for 1 minute before flipping, then boil for 1 more minute. Place finished bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment and lightly sprinkled with each cornmeal or semolina flour. Sprinkle with preferred topping such as salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic or onion, etc.
They were a little doughy at first because I didn't let them rest long enough. After a couple of hours they "bageled up" and are better than anything I've had from Einstein or Panera. I'm so happy that I can now have the best bagels for breakfast every day with only a little bit of work once or twice a week.